'Spartacus' Cancellara puts rivals to the sword
AUDENARDE, Belgium (AFP) –
Swiss ace Fabian Cancellara won the one day classic Tour of Flanders for the second time here on Sunday.
The 32-year-old 2008 Olympic time-trial champion — nicknamed ‘Spartacus’ — came home clear at the end of the 256km ride from Bruges ahead of Slovakian Peter Sagan while Jurgen Roelandts of Belgium was third.
Cancellara, also a four-time world time-trial champion, won his previous Tour of Flanders in 2010 but returned for this edition with sour memories of last year’s race where he crashed and fractured his collarbone in four places.
Cancellara and Sagan, the other favourite for the race, had fought out a thrilling duel once they joined Roelandts at the front with 16km to go.
Both of them fought for supremacy over the last two climbs of the race, Vieux Quaremont and then the Paterberg.
Whilst Sagan was able to stay on Cancellara’s wheel on the Quaremont he was unable to stay with the merciless pace of the Swiss rider on the Paterberg, 13km from the finish.
Cancellara left alone like in a time-trial never faltered as he rode to the line to win his fifth major classic of his career.
The early part of the race had seen defending champion and home favourite Tom Boonen crash out after 19 kilometres.
The three-time winner of the race was treated in hospital for bruising to the elbow, left hip and right knee but x-rays revealed no broken bones.